SYTYCD Top 4 Jeanine Mason and Brandon Bryant in a Louis van Amstel dance: Paso Doble, The ‘Matrix Revolutions’ style

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Jeanine Mason and Brandon Bryant Paso Doble “Tetsujin” from The Matrix Revolutions | Choreography by Louis van Amstel

SYTYCD Top 6 Melissa Sandvig and Evan Kasprzak, Quickstep to ‘As Long as I’m Singin’ Choreography by Louis van Amstel

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Melissa Sandvig and Evan Kasprzak, Quickstep “As Long As I’m Singin'”—Brian Setzer Orchestra | Choreography by Louis van Amstel

6/17 SYTYCD 5 Top 18 Performance Night, Where was the ‘Fun’?

Sometimes, the sophomore performance is just plain lacking. Such was this week. It is not that the dancers weren’t great, but last week, the opening of the 20 top dancers competition, was incredible. The creativity and the style, both on the part of the choreographers and dancers was phenomenal. We have watched that show no less than five times this past week because it was spectacular.

So we entered into tonight thinking, these people are going to step it up even further. We were wrong. The show stumbled. The dances weren’t as good nor as sharp. Many otherwise excellent dancers did not show up when it counted. And in general, the choreographers were rather dull, save for a couple of dances. When Disco is the best dance of the night…you have a problem.

1. Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak Jive, “Shake A Tail Feather”—Ray Charles

Choreographed by Louis van Amstel

The choreographer forgot how important leg movement is in this dance. Watch a Benji jive, for example, and the legs are living and kicking the entire time. There was very little of that in this dance, which left us wondering if we were watching the jive at all. These guys didn’t bring it and also went first, but we blame the choreographer, at least in part, for designing a dance that didn’t feel much like the style it was intended to be. Randi showed little unique personality, but has good technique and is a peppy dancer. Evan, well, for some reason, this wasn’t his night. Seems like there was enough blame to go around for everyone. (6/10)

2. Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi Jazz, “24 Hours” (The Aston Shuffle A-Bomb Remix) —Terry Poison

Choreographed by Sonya Tayeh

The music on this song was horrible. It made absolutely no connection for us, and we feel as though the dancers started off with little connection to it as well. But Melissa and Ade brought it after a bit of a slow start. Their movements were unique and strong. Ade is physically incredible, which lends itself well to this kind of dance, where expression is so very important. Melissa was on target and in sync. We loved the performance. (8/10)

3. Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover Hip-hop, “Missin’ You” —Trey Songz

Choreographed by Shane Sparks

There are times you just can see the pain in a dance, and it isn’t the intended pain of the choreographer. While they were smiling, the dancers were struggling throughout. Jason was able to hit the moves stronger and with more feeling. Caitlin had no feel for it at all, making Hip Hop look more like Contemporary. They danced great, but forgot to do Hip Hop. (6/10)

4. Janette Manrara and Brandon Bryant Disco, “Loving Is Really My Game”—Brainstorm

Choreographed by Doriana Sanchez

This was probably the best dance of the night. The tempo was incredibly fast, which brought an energy to the performance that has been lacking in prior disco sets. Despite a minor stumble, Janette was incredible, performing a V Split that hurt us to watch. Brandon, well, there is nothing he can’t do. Amazing performance for both of them and the best of the night. (9.5/10)

Top 18 Solo Introduction and Dance Recap

5. Asuka Kondoh and Vitolio Jeune Waltz, “Dreams Are More Precious” —Enya

Choreographed by Louis van Amstel

The waltz is a very difficult dance to pick up if you are not graced with training. Neither dancer is truly the type we would expect to be a champion Waltz dancer. Asuka, however, is graceful, and she did not want to be in the bottom three this week, and it showed. She was elegant throughout, smooth in every move even when her partner was less so, and dressed in stunning fashion. She was flawless in this dance which helped Vitolio. Vitolio was strong and on tempo. He was able to pull off every necessary lifts. But his leg movements were anything but the Waltz. He brings down the couple’s score, but Asuka was a 9. (8/10)

6. Kayla Radomski and Max Kapitannikov Pop-Jazz, “Hot Like Wow” —Nadia Oh

Choreographed by Brian Friedman

We think the judges on this show really underestimate Max’s talent. He is an incredibly strong dancer and, more importantly, in this phase of the competition, an amazing partner. Kayla is spectacular, but Max makes her even more special. This team pulled off an amazing dance that was so close to Janette and Brandon that we have to give them the same score. But Janette and Brandon won by a hair. (9.25/10)

7. Karla Garcia and Jonathan Platero Contemporary, “Falling Slowly” —The Frames (Original The Frames Music Video )

Choreographed by Stacey Tookey

Jonathan is not a contemporary dancer, but he nailed this performance. Karla was phenomenal. We weren’t crazy overall about the choreography. They weren’t the best of the night, but Jonathan proved to us that he is a serious contender. Karla always was. We also place them at the top of the night, losing slightly to Janette and Brandon. (9/10)

8. Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chbeeb Tango, “Violento (Up Mix)”–Bailongo!

Choreographed by Tony Meredith

If you cannot swim, you tend not to jump into the deep end of the pool. This show tends to throw dancers into the deep end even when they cannot swim. And Phillip could not swim. He is brilliant at what he does, but his attempt tonight was rather pathetic. It reminded us of Dancing With The Stars, with Jeanine as the Pro and Phillip as a wanna be star hoping to not be embarrassed. The result makes Jeanine even more phenomenal to us. Despite Phillip being awkward and plodding, she made every move gracefully and professionally. She gets a 9. Phillip a 4. Total score? Who knows, but we figure a (7/10).

9. Ashley Valerio and Kupono Aweau Hip-hop, “Imma Be” —The Black Eyed Peas

Choreographed by Shane Sparks

Now, when you get to go last, you have a chance to really nail the routine and get the most votes because the audience will remember you best. Ashley and Kupono stepped out and embarrassed themselves. There was no style to their dance. It hit about as hard as a helium balloon. And the moves were as crisp as over cooked spaghetti. Nothing about this performance did anything for us. In the other dancers, one dancer was significantly better than the other. In this dance, neither did it for us. (6/10)

Overall, tonight was a disappointment with only three great dances. Last week we are keeping in our DVR and will watch again and again. This week gets erased permanently.

Out of it all though emerges the bottom three. And it is pretty obvious who they are. Ashley and Kupono, Randi and Evan, & finally Caitlin and Jason were our bottom three. Much disappointment after being so stellar last week. Any one could go, but we think Ashley and Kupono were the flattest of the three couples. Randi was not incredible. But Caitlin and Jason were a huge disappointment because we expected more of Caitlin than this. So tough to call the actual bottom, and it will come down the solos. We think that Ashley and Kupono should depart as a couple, but it is so close at the bottom this week, that it just plain doesn’t matter which of the three goes. Problem is, in this show, one bad week and you could be gone, but next week could be your best of the season. It is just not possible to know.

We can narrow it down though and it was much easier to pick out the potential losers this week. Then again, America often mislead us with their votes that totally render a surprising bottom three. We’ll see.

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So You Think You Can Dance 5 First Performance Night of the Top 20 Dancers, ‘New Pairing’ Revealed

Oh my what an opening live show for this Season’s So You Think You Can Dance! The audience were feeling it. The judges nervous and excited for the dancers and Cat Deely was just full of life. We can feel both the tension and excitement from watching here at home. It was an overall great show!

What do you know, after they set up the dancers in pairs for the first released interviews- we find out that wasn’t the pairing at all. So we are seeing “new” couples who will be dancing throughout the season until the finals. Here goes:

1. Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chbeeb Hip-hop “Mad” Ne-Yo – Year of the Gentleman (Bonus Track Version)

Choreography of Tabitha D’umo and Napoleon D’umo

Adam Shankman: “That was unfreakin’ real! Jeanine, you are amazing. Philip: No one dances like you. It’s such a joy to watch you dance”

Mary Murphy: “I do hate to disagree with Adam….ahm really sorry… BUT I’M NOT GOING TO…!! (with the Mary loud shriek). Jeanine: You did hold your own up there. Tabitha and Napoloeon, they just know how to work each dancer they get and make it fit and work… Philip: You are special in what you do and nobody does it like you do it.”

Nigel Lythgoe:” You are fantastic Jeanine! I think you have really made a mark for yourself tonight. Congratulations. Philip: You have already got a following. You were brilliant. What a great way to start the night!

To vote for Jeanine and Philip: 1-888-83676-01

2. Asuka Kondoh and Vitolio Jeune Broadway  “Hot Honey Rag”  Chicago – The Musical

Choreography of Tyce Diorio

Adam Shankman: “You followed a number that was extremely emotional and that the dancers kinda do that and this was much more of a character performance piece. As a result, it felt a little more artificial. That having been said, you guys danced it very well, very clean. What is apparent is that you are both very good dancers, so you know you should feel good about it ”

Mary Murphy: Vitolio: “I’m left sitting just a little bit disappointed. I feel that you really needed to bring this routine to life. It was just safe. You both played it safe…”

Nigel Lythgoe: “The dancing was very strong, your lines were beautifulBut we were expecting for you to put your personalities into it wholeheartedly and I don’t feel as though you did this… You just gotta bring your own energy into it.”

To vote for Asuka and Vitolio: 1-888-83676-02

3. Karla Garcia and Jonathan Platero Cha-cha “Poker Face” Lady GaGa – The Fame Choreographed by Tony Meredith

Adam Shankman: “I thought that was really good. You just *beeped* me up. That was awesome. I do my own censoring so they don’t have to do it. Your lines were beautiful.”

Mary Murphy: Screams…”I love my cha-cha rough. That was a lot of roughin’ and a whole lotta fun.” Screams…

Nigel Lythgoe: “Your another couple that has totally slipped under the radar. Nobody really knew who you were up until tonight. If you talk about chemistry, you two just exploded on that stage. Absolutely fantastic routine. It was exciting. It was challenging to you and certainly entertaining for us here. Congratulations, great routine.”

To vote for Karla and Jonathan: 1-888-83676-03

4. Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak Jazz “I Only Have Eyes For You” Jamie Cullum – Catching Tales
Choreographed by Tyce Diorio

Adam Shankman: “Let’s just be honest, let’s call spade a spade. You are slightly vertically challenged as a couple. But you both danced like you were 8 feet tall… Your lines went forever. Your lifts were there. You have the sensuality and more… Evan, no one saw you coming. You are a beautiful dancer.”

Mary Murphy: “I have to be honest with you guys. When we left Las Vegas, you were really probably at the end of the pack for me. I’m telling you, the stars have just come out tonight. My eyes are wide open when it comes to the two of you… (brace yourselves, here’s the screaaam…), That was smoldering and fluid and beautiful and absolutely believable!”

Nigel Lythgoe: “You are absolutely fantastic. I like your hair being curly like that. I think you have just become the couple that people will recognize and talk about. This is one of Tyce’ best routines.”

To vote for Randi and Evan: 1-888-83676-04

5. Paris Torres and Tony Bellissimo Hip-hop to the song “Let the Beat Rock” (Boyz Noize Megamix) Black Eyed Peas – Invasion of Boom Boom Pow (Megamix) [feat. 50 Cent]
Choreographed by Tabitha D’umo and Napoleon D’umo

Adam Shankman: “I thought it was really good. But i found the costumes a little distracting… When you attack something, you need more rebound…”

Mary Murphy: “Well, there’s been memorable. I don’t think this will be. Tony this is your field. Paris, it was just good…. Good I’m afraid is not gonna cut it. You’re gonna grow and I hope that you do and I know you’re both capable…”

Nigel Lythgoe: “I agree with Mary, I don’t think it was memorable. Paris, I think you’re a fantastic dancer. you really came into your own when we did West Side Story, I thought you were absolutely sensational. Everyone’s just magnetized by your dancing. Tony there is room to grow across this season and you need a lot of growth… The pair of you were basically just doing steps and it didn’t feel right…”

To vote for Paris  and Tony: 1-888-83676-05

Top 20 Introduction and Dance Recap

6. Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover Bollywood to the song “Jai Ho”  from Slumdog Millionaire

Choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan

Adam Shankman: “You GUYS ROCK!!! (very pleased indeed!) Jason, your hand work was so superb, your feet hit on the floor so hard and perfect. You did a thing that is so essential to a great dancer, you made it look like it was nothing. Effortless. Caitlin, I was worried about you. you did a great job.”

Mary Murphy: “I’m glad Bollywood came to Hollywood. Yes, I am. That was cool. Caitlin, your handstand, the stength…of keeping it still and doing your foot, that was bizarre. Jason, you have charisma that just reeks out of those eyes, yes you do.” (Screams…)

Nigel Lythgoe: “You brought it tonight. Absolutely fantastic. You encapsulated that whole thing. Caitlin, from the moment you came alive as his hands touched you, and you breathed in and we felt that and we thougth this is going to be special. That was beautiful to see. Congratulations! Jai ho!

To vote for Caitlin and Jason: 1-888-83676-06

7. Janette Manrara and Brandon Bryant Foxtrot “Come Fly With Me” —Michael Bublé

Choreographed by Louis van Amstel

Adam Shankman: “As sad as I know America will be to see Brandon actually dancing in clothes, I’m just going to tell you- it works…. It was lovely. Absolutely lovely. You both should be very very proud of yourselves.”

Mary Murphy: “Janette: You were Ginger Rogers out there. you were elegant and you know you are Miami fire and spice, your lines were lovely, your legs were lovely. The lifts looked effortless… Brandon is a powerhouse. Brandon, if nobody sees the talent that you are, they’re just crazy! (Shrieks…)

Nigel Lythgoe: “As a Salsa dancer there is no way you have this courage. This is something that you found in a very short time, Janette and it’s absolutely beautiful. The way you carried yourself, the grace- it was beautiful. Brandon, I doubt you’ve ever worked in a frame work before have you? (Brandon: NO.) You kept that brilliantly. Terrific. But those tiny feet sometimes are not strong enough. Work on that. Good luck to you both. I thought it was a wonderful routine.”

To vote for Janette and Brandon: 1-888-83676-07

8. Ashley Valerio and Kuponohi’ipoi “Kupono” Aweau Jazz “Felt Mountain” –Goldfrapp

Choreographed by Wade Robson

Adam Shankman: “Your technique is exquisite. Your ability is extraordinary. You guys are gonna go far in the competition. I am totally there. Wade, you are one sick puppy.”

Mary Murphy: “I bought it 100%! You were marvelous in that number. Ashley, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of you. Really well done.”

Nigel Lythgoe: “What I think is genius about this is he(Wade)  gave you both characters which you adhered to throughout. Ashley, You look beautiful in this ridiculous white make up. You look fabulous. Kupono: this wasn’t just robotic thing, this was a fluid type movement that you were being asked to do that you had to master in a very short period of time and nerves to boot. I was in a completely different world and I love being taken there and you kept me in that world which was your job. Congratulations.”

To vote for Ashley and Kupono: 1-888-83676-08

9. Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi contemporary ”Right Here Waiting” – Richard Marx choreographed by Mandy Moore.

Adam Shankman: “We see a lot of good, we see a lot of great (in the show) and we see a lot of you know, eh not so good. What we get to see every once in a while, I can’t believe it I’m doing it, is special. That was so special. Melissa, I think that you are living proof that you get better with age because i bet when you were 21, you weren’t dancing like this. (Melissa is the oldest in the competiton at 29). Ade, your power is so profound and more profound because it is quiet. It is extraordinary. You guys really moved me… that was big”

Mary Murphy: and Mary gives out the biggest scream of the night!!! “Oh my gad. it was totally believable. just from the very beginning, Ade when you ran your hand up the side of her, I was like oh my goodness, everything was just flowing amazingly. The lines, the lifts were beautiful. The movement, the quality. That’s what it is, the training. You can’t deny training and Melissa, you are spectacular. And Ade, wow, I called you a superstar and you know what you are living up to my expectations. you are a gentle giant- yes you are! Quiet, powerful, you got it all! Got my eyes on you…”

Nigel Lythgoe: “Melissa, it’s absolutely beautiful to have a ballerina in our program. I’m so delighted that you made it through. Ade, I don’t think everyone has seen how good you really are yet. This was a beautiful routine. America has got so much to look forward to with you two. Well done tonight.

To vote for Melissa and Ade: 1-888-83676-09

10. Kayla Radomski and Maksim “Max” Kapitannikov samba “Jum Buh Day” choreographed by Louis van Amstel.

Adam Shankman: “That was soooo goood, oh my gad….! Max, you must be the luckiest man alive. for two reasons a, you got ballroom first b. you got a person who makes me know there is a God because only God could have created this girl in front of me. Are you kidding me?! Kayla, you’ve never done ballroom before. It’s like you were born in a ballroom babe. Max, I’m psyche for you. I’m throwing it over to you, she could have never looked that good without you. That’s absolutely true.”

Mary Murphy: “I hear a train, I can hear it…” (Brace for the Hot Tamale Train of the night! Nigel prepares by putting in a headset between his ears and Adam justthrowing his hands up in the air while Mary stand up and gives the loudest scream)…. You are in the Hot Tamale Train…Holy Smokes!”

Nigel Lythgoe: “That was truly sensational routine. That had everything that we could ever wish for. Kayla, your name is always at the top of the list every single time. You are just one of those dancers that appears to be able to do everything. Max, even thought this is your genre- you could have easily been lost. You were also terrific…. You have topped an absolutely brilliant night tonight. Thank you so very much.”

To vote for Kayla and Max: 1-888-83676-10

– o –

The best performers not in order are: jeanine and philip, randi and evan, caitlin and jason, ashley and kupono, melissa and ade, kayla and max.

Those who may be in trouble: paris and tony, asuka and vitolio, karla and jonathan


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